The moment the flashlight was switched off, there was a scream. A coyote howled, and the air filled with a terrible smell. Of that spectacle, Susan Thompson says, "I imagine it's what an LSD trip might be like."
Thompson and her fellow members of the Memphis Archaeological and Geological Society were on a night hunt in Kentucky. When the light was turned off, a pile of ordinary-looking gray rocks suddenly lit up. Thompson was so startled by the iridescence of the calcite-fluorite that she screamed, which not only set off a coyote but provoked a response from a nearby skunk as well.
Perhaps even more surprising to Thompson is how much fun "Rock Club," as she calls it, has been. She joined two years ago with her two grandsons, now age 7 and 9, thinking together-time would be that much better spent digging around in the dirt. They've gone on field trips, clambered up hills, and learned about geodes, crinoids, and drusy.
And this weekend, they will most certainly be attending the group's Memphis Mineral, Fossil, and Jewelry Show at the Agricenter International. The show will include loads of vendors, kids' activities (among them, panning for gold), and educational presentations. A 65-million-year-old dinosaur egg will be awarded to the person who comes up with the best name for it, and sections of a petrified tree trunk will be given away as door prizes. Then there's the jaw-dropping "Food Table," a massive spread of steak and potatoes, ice cream, nuts, bread, and fruits and vegetables — all of it made of rocks. (Pictured above.)
According to Thompson, she once considered herself a bit above something like a mineral and fossil show. "But I have to say, it's fabulous," she now notes. "It's a visual pleasure."
Memphis Mineral, Fossil, and Jewelry Show at the Agricenter International, Saturday-Sunday, April 25th-26th. Tickets are $2 for children 12 and under (all Scouts in uniform get in free) and $5 for adults. Proceeds go to the Ronald McDonald House. For more information, go to theearthwideopen.com.